I want my daughters to grow up in a Minnesota where every kid has an opportunity for success. As I was growing up in Coon Rapids, my parents taught me that if I worked hard there was nothing I couldn’t accomplish. I believed them then, and I still believe it now. But too many people in our state don’t feel that same sense of possibility. And I worry that kids today, including my own kids, won’t grow up with the same opportunities that I had.
To build a Minnesota where everyone has an opportunity for success, we need to restore our world class education system. Education is the silver bullet, and Zack believes that our shared commitment to superior public education is what has made Minnesota the special place it is. But our education system has not kept up with the competition, and we need to fix that. Zack is committed to::
- Universal, high-quality early education. Study after study tells us that education begins long before kindergarten. High-quality preschool education improves students’ performance in school and generates $4 to $16 in return for every dollar we invest. Investing in early education will benefit our children, build the workforce our state needs to succeed in the future, and relieve pressure on middle class families struggling with the ever rising cost of childcare.
- Rigorous K-12 education. Ask a foreign exchange students what surprises her about American education, and she’s likely to mention the lack of rigor in our schools. Our students need high expectations,and our schools need the support to get the job done. Today, state funding for schools is $1,000 less per pupil than it was in 2003. That is unacceptable. And when a local school district tries to make up the difference by raising property taxes, it increases burdens on middle class families and retirees.
- Varied and affordable higher education. Not every kid is going to go to college. But we need to make sure that those who choose to go aren’t saddled with mountains of debt. We also need to a better job supporting our vocational and technical schools. Last, we need to do a better job connecting our high school students with all of the educational options open to them after graduation, from vocational schools and certificate programs, to community colleges, and our public and private colleges and universities.
Minnesotans need a health care system that is reliable, accessible, and affordable. While our federal government continues to fail to act on health care, people across Minnesota are stuck in limbo. They wonder if they will be able to afford the health care they need. They worry that their insurance will be taken away. We can’t wait any longer for the federal government to figure it out. Minnesotans deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’ll be able to see a doctor if you or a loved one gets sick. Zack believes that all Minnesotans should be given the option of buying into MinnesotaCare. Right now, only people who have limited income can sign up for MinnesotaCare. But the people who have MinnesotaCare are very happy with it. And opening MinnesotaCare up to everyone will provide families with stability and save them money with no ongoing cost to taxpayers. Middle class families should have the option of buying into MinnesotaCare if that is what makes the more sense in their individual situation.
Minnesota is a prosperous state, but we can do so much more to make sure our economy is firing on all cylinders and creating new jobs. We need to invest in our infrastructure: roads, bridges, water systems, airports, and mass transit. Improving infrastructure will help our existing businesses to grow and expand and will create good paying jobs in the construction industries.
In addition to creating new jobs, we can improve our economy by improving the jobs we already have. Zack supports a guarantee of paid family leave for every Minnesotan who works full time. No one should lose a job because they have to take care of a new baby or a sick parent. Zack also supports raising the minimum wage to make sure that every working family does not live in poverty.
As a prosecutor, Zack is deeply committed to making sure that our community is safe. People love living in Champlin and Coon Rapids because of how peaceful and safe our cities are. But to preserve that quality of life, we need to be proactive in addressing public safety concerns. That means confronting the epidemic of opioid abuse that is growing around our state. It also means keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals, the dangerously mentally ill, and domestic abusers